No Longer Going Thru The Motions Part One
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Hebrews 4:12 ESV
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Romans 12:2 ESV
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
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Podcast Rating:(0 Minor Language Infractions-begin with B/D/A/H/P)(0 Minor/Major Language Infractions-begin with S) (0 Major/Major Language Infractions-begin with F)Duration: 19 Minutes 34 Seconds Day: 15, Wednesday April 12, 2013 Mood: Emotional,Road Conditions and Weather: MildTraffic: MildLesson and/or Motto: Ignorance is bliss, I allowed myself to be ignorant for far too long.Prayer for the Day: Lord help me make the best of the time I have been given, and be the shining example that I am meant to be.
This is my hardest update to write and podcast to post to date, thus far and since. This talks about my awakening, or discovery this was my turning point.
There comes a point in every Christian’s life when they begin to realize that God has become a part of the daily structure, and church is just something they do on Sunday. I will often say that being Christian is a verb and not a noun but it took me many years to understand the meaning of those words. What that means to me is if you profess to be Christian, you must BE Christian in thought, word and deed. Jenny said to me many times that she has known many Christians in her life that you would never know were Christian because they don’t feel the need to talk about it. This was her way of telling me that this newfound transformation she had seen in me felt forced or fake. This hurt my heart because in effect I had to face the fact that I truly had been just going through the motions of my Christianity the entire time I knew her. Now I felt like I needed to explain to her where this sense of urgency was coming from and why now it held so much importance to me.
When I will say that God speaks to me and this will confuse even the most seasoned Christian. Eric knew this about me, and although it confused him, he never embraced it; but he never disregarded it either. I further confuse most people when I say that my religion is not my God, and it does not define who God is to me. I have a gift that some might consider to be a curse, so for good reason I don’t share this ‘gift’ with too many people. There are skeptics and naysayers who will question it or call it crazy but I have been this way all of my life so there isn’t much that surprises me. I am what they call a ‘sensitive’. I am not as sensitive as some, but more sensitive than others. I know and feel things that most people cannot or do not see and feel. At times I have even been given prophetic visions of my future. Growing up I would disregard those feelings as a sense of deja vu and when I spoke of it I was often told that it was ‘of the devil’ Since I certainly did not want to participate in something that was ‘of the devil’ I decided that early in my Christian walk I would ask God to take this ‘gift’ from me, because it confused and often terrified me. Not having anyone to share it with made me feel alienated or alone in a room full of people. This is further complicated by the fact that I can sense the energy of those around me- I think this is why for many years the thought of being in a room full of people gave me such sever and often crippling anxiety.
Since Eric has been a life long Lutheran he would never allow himself to absorb or believe it, and although a skeptic he never made me feel awkward about it. It simply was part of who I am. Building a bond with my best friend was easy because she also knew of this ability. I would often share with her my thoughts or ideals about a particular event or person and it would be proven true. I would make a prediction and it would come to pass. It is a real aspect of who I am and have always been. I can feel and read emotions, I won’t say I can predict the future but I feel energy and am extremely sensitive to others. Often I can tell what a person is thinking or feeling just by being the room with them. Growing up I felt out of place and often I would act out since I didn’t know how to absorb it, so I avoided it. This double-edged sword offered me another wonderful gift. I hear God much the same way that I hear spirit and pick up on energy. It is a thought that comes strong in my head and is not my own. It gives me insight and a strong moral compass. As a young girl I fought and would ignore it because it confused me. Eric, a life long skeptic made me a promise. We made a pact that if one of us crossed over before the other first the other would find specific ways to contact the person left behind. I can honestly say that Eric made good on that promise.
They say ignorance is bliss, I allowed myself to be ignorant for far too long. What was even scarier is that I was doing this on purpose, because it seemed easier. This is when I learned that although I had found, lost then found God again I had yet to really know Him. Eric and I were doing everything that was expected of us to be that good strong Christian example but we both knew that essentially it was all for show. We were seen in church each week, and sat proud as the offering plate passed us by while we dropped in our weekly offering. We were praying when promoted, but still felt like something was missing. As Eric grew more ill, our faith was eroding under our feet and neither of had the courage to ask why.
As I went through the motions of my mundane existence I found myself just waiting for it to get better. As I look back on it now I can see that I was taking for granted for what I had in front me. Our marriage had begun to suffer, and although it looked nothing like my last marriage did at this point I tried to blame the ‘7 year itch’. Don’t get me wrong, I was devoted to Eric but we had just grown bored of our every day routine and he was extremely overwhelmed. I had lost my spark and my self worth. Being a stay at home mom for the past 4 years had taken its toll on me and since I had found my comfortable rut I didn’t want to budge. I had gained some weight and my sunny disposition left me. I had not realized that the best 5 years of my marriage and the healthiest days of Eric’s adult life were officially behind us. I waited for my life to begin, too stubborn or ignorant to notice that it was quickly passing me by. By the time I realized that I was wasting time, it was too late.
Although we had discussed the sacrifice that allowing me to stay home and raise Kirra would be, it was far more intense than either of had anticipated and it quickly took its toll on Eric. Mounting debts that had been carried over from our wedding, and his prior medical bills were steadily growing. Since making ends meet often-required ‘borrowing from Peter to pay Paul’ or worse yet, the use of 32% interest rated credit we often found a decent reason to argue. I tried to supplement our income by providing child care for young mothers but often found myself being taken advantage of. Working long hours for very little compensation prompted Eric to complain about having to open our home and share his family time with virtual little strangers. Resentment further grew when I had to beg the girl’s dad for the very little money that was required of him each month. The intent was for me to be home with Kirra until she was ready to go in to Pre-K which officially would have been aged 3, but to be honest I was scared. By the time she had turned 4 I felt as though all of my useful mortgage skills were no longer viable. Although Eric assured me that I was a quick study and could learn just about anything fast I had officially lost all self worth. I made excuses for why I was unable to return back to work and this prompted Eric to finally say to me “What happened to that woman that I married? What happened to that strong, confident independent woman that would never let anything get her down, where is she?” The truth is, I didn’t know. I tried to slowly work my way back in to the workforce, but the harder I tried the worse the prospects became. I would stay up most nights and cry, reminiscent of the days when my first-born graced my world, but ironically it had yet to occur to me that this was the classic signs and symptoms of a deep depression.
I knew that I was a terrible mother and Eric made it clear that he did not marry me for my cooking. We made an arrangement when we first married that if he cooked, and I would clean. I don’t think his intent was to stick to that since during this time I would scarcely leave the comfort of the sofa. Once he came through the front door, his resentment grew as I would sit on the couch playing virtual games for hours rather than even look at him. Fortunately when he finally lost his job, it was relief, but for me the struggle just began!
Being a sensitive, I would get glimpses in to our relative future. Sometimes it comes across as a thought, but sometimes I will get images. I told Eric two years prior to him losing his job that we should consider the possibility of moving back to his hometown of Austin Texas. He was always resistant to this since he loved living in an area that contained all four seasons consecutive and as expected. The snow-capped mountains of Colorado had become our home. He would often ask me why I would even consider such a thing and I responded more than once that I was in Denver for him, I go where he goes, to which he would respond “I have no plans of leaving here” I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I felt the move was inevitable. As his illness progressed he began to entertain the notion that being closer to his family might be a wise decision. My hesitation grew because I knew that if was considering this idea, it meant that his health was failing. Denial is a powerful thing, so when he suggested it my heart wanted to sink as my mind kept screaming the memory of my most recent prophetic visions.
For months after we had considered the option, first in passing then more concrete he kept clinging to notion that his job would sustain him. At this point, I knew better. My options ran out, and I was forced to finally secure a job in mortgage. I first began trying to secure another part time child. God will do this trust exercise with me, where He will provide me with a slight ray of hope so I don’t get scared and then pull it right back. This was one such instance. I had a prospect lined up to take the place of the full time kiddo who was being placed in Pre-K and then two days before I was set to start she went another direction. I heard God speak to my heart and say, “Sherri, this is not the direction I have planned for you, trust me” I decided that I needed to just get out there and do what I knew how to do, and within a week I had secured my first real full time position back in to mortgage. It wasn’t as difficult as I anticipated, but getting back in to the daily routine proved to be the most difficult aspect for me. Often I found myself fighting insomnia, falling asleep on the couch at 3:00 am, my mind racing, and asking myself what all of this meant.
As soon as I got my job, Eric’s health took a rapid downturn. He was in and out of the hospital multiple times in the next four months. I decided that we needed to revisit the idea of moving to Austin, to get support from his family and to be closer to the transplant center. After months of persuading him he finally agreed to share with his family how bad things had become, and in the same conversation he told them that we had decided to move to Texas. You could hear how stunned his mom was over the phone. It was very bittersweet for them learning all at once of Eric’s rapid decline, diagnosis, and that they were getting us all closer to them. Prior to this phone call, Eric had refused to share just how bad things were because we didn’t want to burden them, but he was also a typical male or proud. He never wanted to let on that anything was wrong, sometimes keeping the details from me; his wife.
When I say that Eric was the strongest person that I have ever known, I truly mean that. Standing 6’3’ and at his top weight of 190 pounds he seemed to be a force to be reckoned with, but he was gentle as a teddy bear. The kindest heart you ever saw and willing to bend over backwards for anyone. His strength was not in his ability to approach someone with authority but in that he was able to take on more pain than any person should ever have to experience in a lifetime and keep a smile. He always made sure that everyone in the room was comfortable even when he was in severe pain, honestly that was just his nature. He would never let on that he was in any discomfort at all, which is why most people just assumed that he was thin by choice and would often tease him or talk about him behind his back for it. This is why to this day my motto is, “never judge because you never know what someone might be going through -they may be fighting a silent battle that you can’t see.”
Learning that saying the word ‘Amen’ proceeding a prayer means “Lord Your will, not mine be done” was one of the hardest lessons that I had to learn. Knowing that a prayer even when said not in earnest will net the same result as a prayer from a true trusting heart can be a lesson in humility and one that I don’t think I was full ready to fully commit to. I thought that when God asked me if I was ready, he meant that I was simply going to write my book, little did I know the sacrifice that I would make. Asking God back in to my heart again after going through the motions was one of the hardest yet easiest things that I had to do as Christian. I will say that faith is both the easiest and hardest thing to understand and now I can say with certainly that this is true! I truly wanted to be on fire again and to please the man that I love. I wanted to prove to Eric that I was still his angel, but I had no idea how much our lives would change in such a short amount of time. Not knowing how to cling to God, I began to get angry with Him when our lives began falling apart. Since I married the most selfless man that I ever knew, I just watched as he lived most of our marriage struggling from day to day. I had no idea that his sacrifice was spiritual growth for me, and that God laid out His plan for us and we agreed. This is when I learned that we were each other’s angels.
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